Gregory_of_Nyssa(From a letter to the most discreet and devout Sisters, Eustathia and Ambrosia, and to the most discreet and noble Daughter, Basilissa, recalling a visit to the Holy Places).

The meeting with the good and the beloved, and the memorials of the immense love of the Lord for us men, which are shown in your localities, have been the source to me of the most intense joy and gladness.

Doubly indeed have these shone upon divinely festal days:

both in beholding the saving tokens of the God who gave us life, and in meeting with souls in whom the tokens of the Lord’s grace are to be discerned spiritually in such clearness, that one can believe that Bethlehem and Golgotha, and Olivet, and the scene of the Resurrection are really in the God-containing heart.

For when through a good conscience Christ has been formed in any, when any has by dint of godly fear nailed down the promptings of the flesh and become crucified to Christ,

when any has rolled away from himself the heavy stone of this world’s illusions, and coming forth from the grave of the body has begun to walk as it were in a newness of life,

abandoning this low-lying valley of human life, and mounting with a soaring desire to that heavenly country with all its elevated thoughts,

where Christ is, no longer feeling the body’s burden, but lifting it by chastity, so that the flesh with cloud-like lightness accompanies the ascending soul

—such an one, in my opinion, is to be counted in the number of those famous ones in whom the memorials of the Lord’s love for us men are to be seen.

When, then, I not only saw with the sense of sight those Sacred Places, but I saw the tokens of places like them, plain in yourselves as well, I was filled with joy so great that the description of its blessing is beyond the power of utterance.

But because it is a difficult, not to say an impossible thing for a human being to enjoy unmixed with evil any blessing, therefore something of bitterness was mingled with the sweets I tasted:

and by this, after the enjoyment of those blessings, I was saddened in my journey back to my native land, estimating now the truth of the Lord’s words, that “the whole world lieth in wickedness,” so that no single part of the inhabited earth is without its share of degeneracy.

For if the spot itself that has received the footprints of the very Life is not clear of the wicked thorns, what are we to think of other places where communion with the Blessing has been inculcated by hearing and preaching alone.

Gregory of Nyssa (c 335 – after 394): Letter 17.

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